Sunday, December 23, 2018

Reflection of 2018 And What To Look Forward In 2019

As we wind down this week towards the last week of 2018, I wanted to reflect on a few aspects related matters that is important to me.

I feel it is important to keep abreast of the situation and we reviewed them after each year has passed.

Job / Career

I left my 6 years job in the logistic company to move into an unchartered territory towards the last quarter of the year starting in September.

The increase in pay was always a welcome addition but it came with a totally different kind of challenge, a challenge which I am still accustomed to trying out.

Moving to a different company doesn't make me indifferent to how I feel all along about being the corporate slave. I feel like I am still the running front for the antagonism towards being the rat in a race.

That doesn't change my opinions until I am proven wrong.


I burst my budget for travelling this year with 7 holiday plans during the year which spans across the different countries:

Taiwan (with family) - 14 days

Johor Bahru (with family) - 4 days

- Jakarta (with family) - 15 days

- Phuket (with friends) - 4 days

- Taiwan (with friends) - 4 days

Kuala Lumpur (with family) - 7 days

Bali (with family) - 10 days

Don't ask me how I managed to escape from taking so many leaves. Honestly, I don't know that myself and it spans across the different weekends + public holidays combo.

On the travel expenses, I think I busted over $25k and is definitely one aspect I wanted to cut down in 2019.

Expenses & Savings

Despite the over burst in travel budget, we managed to keep our purse tight during the year with vigilant spending in the other categories, specifically on transport where we frequent BMW (bus mrt and walk) a lot more often, even when we are bringing our two kids out.

Meals and groceries spending were also monitored closely so we don't overspend on unnecessary things.

Savings were a modest $40k or thereabout during the year which I managed to capital inject it into the portfolio.


I get to spend a whole lot more of my kids and also my parents this year which was really great.

The idea to be able to live a work life balance and to truly prioritise it stems from the fact that we were more confident to walk away from something which doesn't gels with our priority in life.

Turns out it is always a non-event but the feeling of having that trump card advantage is imminent.


Last but not least, this is the growing the pot segment.

As with all the years in the past, there are many lessons which I've learned and this year was no different.

A couple of reflections on this front:

1.) As a value investor myself (I define value investing broadly as something that is opportunistic in nature), I seem to find myself jittery at times with when to hold cash or when to take a position. Even when I am so damn sure about a position that will make me money in the future, I still wanted to perfect time it to the best of my ability so that I extracted out the maximum profits or minimized the losses.

2.) I hate to be on the wrong side of things when my call didn't turn out to be correct, especially the avoidable ones such as the Keppel KBS case. Even if this case was an isolation, I still didn't quite like the feeling of being in the wrong side of things.

3.) I swing my bat a lot lesser this year as compared to the previous year and it worked quite well. I believe this has got to do with me positioning a defensive position since the start of the year so with market volatility there is nothing much that I need to rebalance.

4.) My portfolio would suck badly should there be a bull run this year like the one in 2017. Despite being almost 100% vested all the time, the portfolio nature is defensive and they perform well when the markets are seeing red rather than green. I like the irony of these things.

5.) This is also the first year which I have picked up the shorting strategy to be on the opposite fence of things. There are people asking if it was easy and the answer to that is there are no easy stuff in investing so just watch out the risk tail on that end.

6.) I learned that you can still make money in a bear market and lose in a bull market. It all depends on how you identified your opportunity.

7.) There are a few industry leaders which was badly hit this year that caught my attention which I might turn the swing around and place a long position a bit more in 2019 if it falls under my radar. A few of those names are like CDL, Keppel, Dbs and Singtel. This is almost like doing a Dogs of the STI method but I'm only interested in industry leaders.

8.) I managed to end in 2nd position of the sgx challenge this year after losing to the bear prowl on the last day of challenge, even with a 29.6% return.

Congrats to the bear prowl for winning the competition and it was a great honor to challenge with the rest of the warriors too.

9.) There are a few folks who have messaged me about if I can reinstate my portfolio transactions back every month. There are some things which I am still working on but once things stabilised I will bring it back in the early 2nd quarter of 2019. This is more of an update.

10.) Since my article was featured on yahoo and Cpf, a lot of people has mistaken me thinking that I earn a great deal of income so I just wanted to clarify. As a single individual maybe that is true but as a household that is not the case because I am still well below the median which means technically a couple both earning median income would easily trump my income.

Having said that, there are certain advantages and circumstances which I was privileged to which was different from anyone but this is not a race against one another. This is a race against our own selves of yesterday.

What to expect in 2019?

I am expecting big changes to come in 2019 from the personal front but I'd like to only announce it once things are closer and with more certainty ahead.

On the financial matter, I am going to challenge myself with the $1m race challenge which is going to be extremely tough but I am not calling it impossible. At this point, I am "just" about $170k to that goal so I'm sure it won't be "tough". Read the opposite.

I just need to make sure I avoid falling into silly traps and watch the risk tail very closely on some of the companies.

Capital preservation is also key at this point so I wanted to be on the safer side of things (a big no to bonds for me).

Health and families continue to be the priority so I will continue to work hard on this front and not neglect it. If any, there is a big chance I might enhance this in 2019.

With that, I wish everyone a happy Xmas to all your family, stay safe health and happy.

Thanks for reading.

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  1. Happy Christmas! All the best in attaining your goals in the financial and family aspect. You inspire me to be on this journey like how you first started out many years ago.


    1. Hi Cupcaked

      Thanks for your kind comment.

      You've been doing great too and I've been reading your updates. And it's a mutual respect to learn from one another.

      Have a great 2019 ahead :)

  2. $3.3K monthly saving is around net take home pay of median income earners in Singapore. Respect!

    1. Hi UncleCW

      Thanks, the kids are still small and the tuition expenses have not started rolling in yet so gotta save as much now as we can first.

  3. Hi B

    I am so amazed, you managed to go for so many holidays! Pl share some tips on how you did this, financially and application of leave. lol

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi MIM

      I didn't realize that myself until my mom scolded me off oops!!

    2. Hi MIM

      I didn't realize that myself until my mom scolded me off oops!!

  4. Hey B,

    Merry Christmas!

    Pretty amazing to make it to the 2nd place of the SGX Challenge! Good luck with your $1m race challenge in 2019.

    1. Hi TBWP

      Thank you :) And looking fwd to that challenge too.

  5. Brian - it was great going up against you in the competition. Do follow us at our facebook page:

    1. Hi Aaron

      The privelege is mine.

      It was great knowing you and Alex.

  6. Good luck in the New Year! By the way, how did you get involved in the SGX challenge?

    1. Hi SDC

      The SGX Challenge was organized together with InvestingNote, so that time can just register for free during the competition.

  7. hi B, saw your picture during our finance townhall!

  8. Hi B,

    I think you are doing great and salute you for not caving and buy a car. Anyway, ignore those jealous people who commented on your article on CPF, I read it and I think it's inspiring. Happy new year to you and keep writing! :)

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